Visa regulations

Residence permit for self-employment

If a citizen who is not a national of the EU, the EEA or Switzerland, and is therefore deemed to be a third country national, plans to remain for longer than three months, or to seek self-employment or similar paid employment, a residence permit must as a rule be issued prior to entering the Federal Republic of Germany.  Further information is available from the consular departments of German missions abroad (embassies or consulates-general).
As part of the process, the Foreigners' registration office in Germany decides whether the residence permit is to be tied to a specific purpose of stay, and whether self-employment or similar paid employment can be approved. Self-employment or paid employment must be expressly permitted under the residence permit issued by the Foreigners' registration office following entry into Germany.
In order that the proposal, and in particular the economic background to the application, can be assessed, the following documents should be submitted with the residence permit application:
  1. Curriculum vitae (incl. school certificates, diplomas, testimonials, references etc.)
  2. Copy of contract of employment or managing director's contract
  3. Shareholders' deployment resolution (if available)
  4. Corporate concept / business plan with
    1. Capital requirements plan
    2. Funding plan
    3. Forecast of earnings
  5. Proof of capital to be used to found the business
  6. Proof of capital to guarantee subsistence for at least 6 months
  7. Articles of association, in draft form if necessary
  8. Extract from the commercial register (if already available)
  9. Business registration (if available)
  10. Rental/tenancy agreements (if available)
If purchasing or taking over an existing business:
  1. Purchase agreement and evaluation of inventory on the date of purchase
  2. Proof of existing business relations in Germany and/or the EU
  3. Annual accounts for the last 3 fiscal years
  4. Current business evaluation

Corporate concept / business plan

A carefully prepared business plan is the most important basis on which the viability of a business proposal can be assessed. The business plan should include:
  1. Curriculum vitae (training, career history, sector experience, in table form)
  2. Concept (description of the proposal)
  3. Capital requirements plan
  4. Funding plan
  5. Forecast of earnings (expected turnover, costs and profits)
Where necessary:
  1. Liquidity planning (comparison of payments in and out)
  2. Rental agreement, articles of association (drafts if necessary)
  3. Purchase agreement, balance sheets/annual accounts, current business evaluation
In the case of an acquisition/cooperation:
  1. Collaborative agreement (e.g. franchise contract, draft if necessary).
Get more information about our services for start-ups at Hamburg Chamber of Commerce.
Updated: 5th May 2022